The Boston Red Sox will open the 2010 season against the champions of the American League East (a.k.a. the World Series champs) and AL Central, and the second-best AL West club and third-best AL East team before the season reaches its second month.
The road games this April — against the Royals, Twins and Blue Jays — is not quite as rough, but Boston might even be unable to replicate its so-so 14-8 record, when it lost six of eight to the Angels, Rays and Athletics, to start last season.
After opening with three at home against the Yankees, Boston travels to Kansas City and Minnesota, then returns home to face Tampa Bay, Texas and Baltimore before heading to Toronto.
Playing 13 of its first 19 games at Fenway isn’t a bad way to try settling its starting lineup as quickly as possible. The departure of Jason Bay, lack of a position for Mike Lowell and expected continued downward slide of David Ortiz leave holes in Boston’s lineup after the cleanup spot.
Newcomers Marco Scutaro, Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron will likely be the key to whether the Red Sox can equal last season’s .806 OPS or 872 runs scored, which ranked second and third respectively in the AL.
And since the Red Sox are likely putting baseball’s best pitching rotation on the mound this season, offense will either make or break Boston in 2010.
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